what's new?  |   archive  |   prehistoric ryukyu  |   ancient ryukyu  |   early-modern ryukyu  |   modern okinawa  |   postwar & contemporary okinawa  |  links  | contents  | about this website


Statement by the Honourable U. Alexis Johnson, Under Secretary for Political Affairs for the Subcommittee on US Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Washington, D.C., 26th to 29th January, 1970

In response to the request contained in Senator Symington's letter of January 5, 1970, to Secretary Rogers, I am pleased to appear before this Subcommittee today to review our relations with Japan, with particular reference to our security commitments, the role of the United States military forces and facilities in Japan and Okinawa, and Japan's contribution to its own defence.

It is my feeling that both the United States and Japan can take pride and satisfaction in the way our relations have developed. From a prostrate country at the end of the war, dependent on the United States even for its food, Japan has now risen to the point of being the second economic power in the non- Communist world and our largest overseas trading partner. The major part of this success is, of course, due to the energy and abilities of the Japanese people themselves, but the enlightened policies pursued by the United States, beginning with the occupation through the Treaty of Peace, the first Security Treaty, and its replacement by the Security Treaty of 1960, and most recently in the agreement by President Nixon and Prime Minister Sato to enter into negotiations looking toward the return of the administrative right over Okinawa in 1972, have created and maintained the environment in which this development could take place. In large part the problems existing between ourselves and Japan now are the problems arising from the success of the policies pursued by both Governments, which have led to the broadening and deepening of our relationship in almost every field. As such, they are the type of problems that, personally, I welcome.

In general, it seems to me fair to say that the record shows that both countries have well recognised that changing situations have required changing solutions and consequently our relations have for the most part smoothly moved from a relationship of victor and vanquished, donor and dependent, toward that relationship of equality befitting two great states. Without in any way depreciating the importance of our relations with any other country, it seems clear to me that the relationship between the United States and Japan, and Japan's position in relationship to the other countries of Asia and the Pacific, is going to continue to be an increasingly crucial factor in developments in that vast area which is of such importance to the United States.

For their part, the Japanese are also aware that with the reversion of Okinawa we are entering a new phase in our relationship. Prime Minister Sato in his speech before the National Press Club that the "post-war" era had come to an end and that "Japan, in co-operation with the United States, will make its contribution to the peace and prosperity of the Asian-Pacific region." In the new and what he called "open relationship" with the U.S., the Prime Minister said Japan, recognising the responsibilities assumed by the United States for the security of Asia, should take an increasingly important role in furnishing technical and economic assistance to Asian nations, in the expectation that the United States would also continue to fulfil its commitments to the security and stability of the area. We expect to cooperate closely with Japan in the develop-ment of policies designed to promote economic growth and political stability in the area.

It is against this background that I want, to the best of my ability, to provide some of the answers to the specific questions raised in tile Chairman's letter of January 9 to Secretary Rogers.

The security relationship between ourselves and Japan, of course, dates from the period of occupation during which the Treaty of Peace was being negotiated. This was also during the period of the Korean War. Since Japan was then virtually defenceless and we required military bases in Japan for prosecution of the war in Korea, a Security Treaty was negotiated that came into effect in 1952, at the same time as the Treaty of Peace. After the armistice in Korea, and in light of developments in Japan, we agreed in 1958 to the Japanese proposal to revise our security arrangements in order to place them on a broader basis of equality.


These negotiations resulted in the current Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, signed on January 19, 1960, which, with the advice and consent of the Senate, was ratified and cam into force on June 23, 1960. This is our only commitment to Japan. Under the Treaty each party agrees that:

"An armed attack against either party in the territories under the administration of Japan would be dangerous to its own peace arid safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional provisions and processes."

As stated in the Treaty, it applies to "territories under the administration of Japan." Thus it became applicable to the Bonin Islands at the time their administration was returned to Japan in June 1968. At such time as an agreement is concluded and comes into effect for the return of the administration of the Ryukyu Islands to Japan, it will also become applicable to those islands. The obligations of Japan under the Treaty will then be extended to that area.

The Treaty is by its provisions of indefinite duration, but after June 23 of this year the 10-year period during which it was not subject to renunciation by either party comes to an end and thereafter it will become, like most of our other mutual defence treaties, subject to termination by either party upon one year's notice.

As far as general Japanese attitudes toward the Treaty are concerned, the Sub-Committee is aware that following Prime Minister Sato's return from Washington, general elections were held in Japan on December 27, 1969. During the campaign leading up to that election, a major part of Prime Minister Sato's Liberal Democratic Party's foreign policy plank was the continuation of the Treaty, and that party won the elections by the largest majority of seats in the Diet that it has held since 1960. The result of recent public opinion polls with respect to the U.S., the Security Treaty, and similar matters is attached as Appendix I.

As far as the United States is concerned, I feel that the Treaty is continuing to serve our interests well. The bases and facilities provided by Japan under the provisions of the Treaty are especially important to our ability to maintain our commitments to the Republic of Korea and the Republic of China. Although we maintain no ground combat forces in Japan, our rear area logistics depots, the communications sites, the large and well-equipped naval facilities arid airfields, hospitals, and so on, have also been important factors in our ability to support and maintain our forces in Southeast Asia. We have consistently had excellent co-operation and support from the Government of Japan in operating, maintaining and protecting our bases in that country. In the communique issued with President Nixon last November, as well as in his address to the National Press Club, Prime Minister Sato very clearly and specifically recognised the important role that these bases, as well as those on Okinawa, are playing in this regard and the importance of that role to the security of Japan itself. I am supplying, for the record, copies of both the communique (Appendix II) and Prime Minister Sato's address (Appendix III).


These bases and facilities are provided under Article VI of the Treaty, which reads, "For the purpose of contributing to the security of Japan and the maintenance of international pence and security in the Far East, the United States of America is granted the use by its land, air and naval forces of facilities and areas in Japan." The use of these facilities and areas is governed by what is commonly known as the "Status of Forces Agreement" (SOFA), which was also signed on January 19, 1960, and entered into force at the same time as the Treaty. I am also submitting for tire record a copy of that Agreement as well as the Security Treaty. (Appendix IV) The SOFA established a Joint Committee as the vehicle by which the two Governments were to carry out the implementation of the Agreement. Traditionally, on the American side, the Chief of Staff of the United States Forces Japan represents the United States with the participation of representatives from the Embassy and the three services. On the Japanese side, the representative is the Director of the American Bureau of the Foreign Office, with the participation of other Foreign Office officials arid representatives of the Japanese Defence Agency. The Committee has established and carries on most of the large volume of day-to-day business through a considerable number of technical subcommittees in such fields as transport, communications, and air traffic control facilities.

With changing requirements and changing conditions, we and the Japanese, working together, have steadily modified the scope of our bases and facilities. Since 1952, the number of our bases and facilities has been reduced from some 3800 to 125. During 1969 alone, 23 facilities were returned to Japanese control. In carrying out this continuing program we and the Japanese Government are seeking to do all that we can to take care of those problems which are understandable annoyances, many of which arise from the fact that the exploding urban population of Japan has closed in around what were once isolated air-fields, and otherwise brought pressures on land use. During the last year we were able to eliminate or greatly reduce these annoyances at several facilities which had posed serious problems hitherto, such as Oji, Itazuke, and Kamiseya.


Under an exchange of notes effected at the same time as the signature of the Security Treaty, there was also established what is called the `Security Consultative Committee," with the American Ambassador to Japan as Chairman on the United States side and the Commander in Chief Pacific as the Ambassador's principal advisor on military and defence matters. The foreign Minister presides on the Japanese side with participation of the Director General of the Defence Agency. Under its terms of reference this Committee meets at the request of either side to consider broad security matters involving both countries. As, because of the level of the participants, this Committee was able to meet only infrequently, and its procedures had become considerably formalised. In 1967 it was agreed to establish a subcommittee with the Ambassador as Chair-man on the American side, and the Vice Foreign Minister as Chairman on the Japanese side, for more informal and frequent exchanges of views on defence matters. In addition to the principals, the Commander of United States Force Japan, representatives of CINCPAC, and Washington agencies have participated on the American side. This Committee is in no sense a negotiating body but rather a point for a free and confidential exchange of views and information. It has thus far met six times.


Under an exchange of notes also carried out at the time of the signature of the Treaty of January 19, 1960, it was agreed that as stated in those notes:

"Major changes in the deployment into Japan of United States armed forces, major changes in their equipment, and the use of facilities and areas in Japan as bases for military combat operations to be undertaken from Japan other than those conducted under Article V of the said Treaty, shall be the subjects of prior consultation with the Government of Japan."

In a communique issued with then Prime Minister Kishi on January 19, 1960, President Eisenhower stated that with reference to this exchange of notes:

"The United States Government has no intention of acting in a manner contrary to the wishes of the Japanese Government with respect to the matters involving prior consultation under the Treaty."

There has been no occasion since the Treaty went into effect under which the United States has asked for consultations in accordance with this understanding. Neither we nor the Japanese Government have sought to anticipate every possible contingency with all their permutations and arrive at precise prior understanding with respect to every situation on which either Government might feel prior consultation formally should he invoked. However, apart from the question of introduction of nuclear weapons, there is one clear cut case on which we agree and that is the case in which American aircraft would take off from a Japanese base to bomb another area. On the other hand, Japan has never raised any question concerning American aircraft stationed in or passing through Japan being transferred or moved to bases outside of Japan from which to engage in combat. Japan has also never raised any question concerning naval vessels en route to or from combat operations calling at our naval bases in Japan.

As a result of the PUEBLO and EC-121 incidents, we have had informal discussions with the Japanese Government as a result of which I am satisfied that the Japanese Government would not consider prior consultation was required in the event we felt it necessary to use aircraft or naval vessels in Japan either to go to the rescue of American vessels or aircraft in distress on the high seas or to serve as escorts in such situations.


While not directly pertinent to the U.S. commitment to Japan and our base presence there, the UN security arrangements to which Japan is a party are sufficiently relevant to area security to warrant brief description. On September 8, 1951, it was agreed in an exchange of notes between Secretary Acheson and Prime Minister Yoshida that:

"If and when the forces of a Member or Members of the United Nations are engaged in any United Nations action in the Far East after the Treaty of Peace (with Japan) comes into force, Japan will permit and facilitate the support in and about Japan, by the Member or Members, of the forces engaged in such United Nations action."

In an exchange of notes January 19, 1960 it was agreed that this exchange, "will continue to be in force so long as the Agreement regarding the Status of the United Nations Forces in Japan remains in force."


As far as Japan's contribution to its own defence is concerned, the starting point is Article IX of the Constitution adopted in 1947, which reads:

"The Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. "In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will not be maintained. The right of belligerency of the State will not be recognised."

I do not feel that it is productive to debate the origin of this Article. What-ever its origin, there is no question that at that time, and still to a large degree, it represents the mood of the Japanese people. However, in 1950 at the time of the attack on Korea, General MacArthur proposed and the Japanese Government agreed to the establishment of what are called "Self-Defence Forces" with land, air, and naval arms.

From 1950 until 1965, the United States gave substantial military assistance to help build up those forces. All grant military assistance was terminated in 1965 and since that lime Japan has purchased in the United States, manufactured under licenses primarily from the United States or manufactured on its own, all of its equipment and weapons. Our military assistance to Japan up to the time it was terminated amounted to $854.3 million, and our sales to Japan including licenses had through 1969 amounted to about $450 million. For FY 1971 we expect to receive about $135 million from such sales. Notable license agreements have involved the production in Japan of F-104 aircraft, as well as Hawk and Nike Hercules ground-to-air missiles. These agreements were entered into pursuant to the Mutual Defence Assistance Agreement of 1954, which continues in effect as an important medium for U.S-Japan defence cooperation.

At the present time the Japanese Self-Defence Forces amount to about 240,000 men under arms, of whom 180,000 are in the Ground Self Defense Forces, organised into 23 divisions; in addition, there is a Navy consisting of 210 ships totalling approximately 125,000 tons, and an Air Force of 960 planes including 15 jet fighter squadrons. There has also recently been placed into operation a very modern computerised air defence control network to which we made some contribution through military sales. The Japanese planning places major emphasis on modernisation rather than expansion of their forces. In general, I think it fair to say that Japan now has the capability of taking the major role in its own immediate and direct conventional defence. Within my observation, relations both professional and personal, are excellent between our own forces in Japan and the Japanese forces.

While Japan has kept its defence expenditures at a rate somewhat below one percent of GNP for the past few years, rapid growth in GNP has meant that those expenditures have been doubling approximately every six years since the Treaty of Peace went into effect in 1952. In last year's budget they were at the level of approximately $1.3 billion. Next year's defence budget, starting April 1, 1970, is expected to rise by 15-18 percent. The next five-year build-up plan, to cover the 1972-76 period, is expected to show somewhat more than double the expenditure under the 1967-71 plan. It will be during the course of this next build-up plan that Japan will begin assuming defence responsibilities for Okinawa. We foresee air defence as being the main area in which there can be a shift from U.S. to Japanese responsibility and this will probably be done gradually, as was the case in Japan Proper. The first Japanese units to be deployed to Okinawa, probably early after reversion, will be ground units. Over the years the Japanese will probably increase their forces and add interceptor aircraft, escort and supply ships, and Nike, Hawk, and radar units.

Because of the interpretation given to Article IX of the Constitution, attitudes within Japan, and perhaps in many ways even more importantly, attitudes in the area, it is now difficult to foresee Japanese military forces taking any direct security role outside of Japan. Currently the Japanese provide no military assistance and carry out no military planning with other countries. Nevertheless, the Japanese Government has expressed its willingness to consider taking some role in an international peacekeeping force, especially if there should be agreement in the United Nations on establishing such a force in Southeast Asia.


Our evaluation of the direct threat to Japan generally accords with the view held by the Japanese authorities. The Soviets maintain a powerful strategic strike capability in the Far East against which Japan's only plausible defence is the protection provided by the U.S. nuclear deterrent. The Soviets could also bring to bear sizeable conventional forces on Japan; accordingly, the bulk of Japanese defence forces, especially land forces, are deployed toward the north. The Chinese Communists already have a modest delivery capability to go with their nuclear forces, and within a few years this threat may grow with the development of more sophisticated missiles in their arsenal. However, lacking air and over water transport, for their forces, the Chinese Communists do not now pose a direct conventional threat against Japan. We are also agreed with the Japanese authorities that the biggest threat to Japan's security lies in the continued tensions on the Korean Peninsula. While the North Koreans cannot directly threaten Japan, a communist take-over of the entire peninsula would seriously affect Japanese security interests, and a Korean conflict, with all the uncertainties it would unloose of possible participation by major powers, would clearly affect Japan's own security. It is difficult to postulate a plausible nuclear blackmail threat against Japan, given anything like present circumstances and present Japanese policies, including Japan's adherence to the U.S-Japan Security Treaty. The reason is that the credibility of the U.S. nuclear deterrent is such as to make it most unlikely that either Red China or Soviet Russia would care to run the risk involved. Moreover, both communist powers currently appear to be more concerned about neutralising Japan in the context of their dispute between themselves than with antagonising her.

It does not seem to me that the question of the form of response that would be open to the United States in the event of a "plausible threat of nuclear blackmail directed against Japan . . ." is in any way substantially different from that which would arise in the event of such a threat against any other country with which we have a mutual security treaty. The range of such hypothetical situations is so broad. It seems to uie that it would not be useful to attempt to speculate on them. The question obviously goes to the heart of our whole philosophy with respect to deterrence and the decision would obviously have to be one for the President.


It is not possible to make any very educated guess about what the future might hold for relations between Japan and Communist China. Much clearly depends on how Peking wishes to approach this issue. The Japanese have been taking a prudently cautious attitude and I would expect them to continue to do so. Their views in many respects are parallel to our own. They are, of course, interested in establishing a dialogue with the mainland, but not at the price of abandoning their important relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan. I would expect that the Japanese will continue to be interested in expanding their trading relations with Mainland China. (During the first eleven months of 1969 Japanese exports to Communist China amounted to $340 million and Japanese imports totalled $216 million.) In any event, I anticipate that we will continue to consult frequently with our important ally in the Far East on these important questions.


Japan recognises just as well as we do that peace and security in Asia are not just a matter of military forces but are heavily dependent upon the political, social and economic health of the countries of the area. While Japanese leaders themselves recognise that they should in their own interest be doing more in this field, what they are presently doing is not insubstantial. In 1968 Japan devoted somewhat over $1 billion, or 0.74 percent of its GNP to what qualifies as economic assistance under the criteria of Development Assistance Committee of the OECD.

When he was in Washington, Prime Minister Sato stated that Japan should assume "the leading role in such fields as economic and technical assistance towards the nation-building efforts of the Asian countries" and the Government has indicated its intention to double its aid expenditures by the mid-1970's. As you also know, Japan made the same initial contribution to the Asian Development Bank as did the United States. Japan has also contributed more than any other country to the special funds of that Bank. Japan has been a major participant along with the U.S. in the multilateral aid effort for Indonesia. It has also been active in the Mekong River development scheme and is the major contributor to several projects already underway. Japan also actively participates in the Association of Pacific and Asian States (ASPAC) and was the initiator of the Southeast Asian Ministerial Council on Economic Development, as well as the Southeast Asian Council on Agricultural Development. A detailed comparison of U.S. and Japanese aid to Far Eastern countries is provided in Annex V.

Although Japan has not assumed any security commitments toward her neighbours, she recognises a security interest in the maintenance of a non-Communist South Korea and Taiwan. In the Nixon-Sato Communique the Prime Minister affirmed that "the security of the Republic of Korea was essential to Japan's own security." He further stated that "the maintenance of peace and security in the Taiwan area was also a most important factor for the security of Japan." He added his ``recognition that, in the light of the present situation, the presence of U.S. forces in the Far East constituted a mainstay for the stability of the area." Japanese public opinion may not be unanimous in support of the Prime Minister's views, but there is little doubt that most Japanese would be concerned by communist takeovers in South Korea or Taiwan.

Likewise Japan opinion has been divided on the Vietnam War but has universally welcomed U.S. efforts to restore peace in the area. The Prime Minister in 1967 expressed support for the U.S. position of seeking a just and equitable settlement in Vietnam, and in 1969 he agreed with President Nixon that the reversion of Okinawa should be accomplished "without affecting the U.S. efforts to assure the South Vietnamese people the opportunity to determine their own political future without outside interference."


The Subcommittee expressed interest in any special arrangements that may exist with respect to U.S. naval ships coming to Japan. Under the Treaty, our naval vessels are free to come and go at will from the ports of Yokosuka and Sasebo. This applies to both conventional and nuclear-powered ships, but before exercising our rights with respect to the latter ships, we elected to discuss the matter fully with the Japanese Government, in order to remove any apprehen-sion on their part as to the safety of these ships. An understanding on this was reached in 1964 as concerns submarines and in 1967 as concerns surface vessels. There have been 33 submarine and one surface ship visits up to the present time. Some of the early submarine visits, and the ENTERPRISE visit in early 1968, evoked large demonstrations, but recent submarine visits have occurred with little public attention. There has been only one incident of consequence, a false radioactivity scare at Sasebo in 1968, which occasioned considerable press and public concern. We and the Japanese discuss from time to time Japanese monitoring procedures in connection with these visits. [Deleted.]


Article Ill of the Peace Treaty stipulated that if the United states were to propose a United Nations trusteeship, Japan would concur in such a proposal, and the Committee asked why this was not done. Trusteeship was a possible option, but in our view this article in no way obligated us to place the Ryukyus under trusteeship. As Ambassador Dulles stated in his appearance before the Foreign Relations Committee in behalf of securing Senate advice and consent to ratification of the Peace Treaty: "We are not obligated even to apply for trusteeship. It says if we do apply for trusteeship Japan will concur." Moreover, it was clear that in the circumstances of the 1960's the government and people of Japan would not understand the United States desire to turn over to the United Nations a territory that had once been an integral part of Japan. The Okinawan people themselves had made abundantly clear, most recently in the November 1968 elections, their strong desire for reversion to Japan.


Turning to the general questions the Committee has raised with respect to Okinawa and the communique issued on this subject by President Nixon and the Prime Minister Sato last November, I felt that perhaps the best way of dealing with this was to furnish the Committee the text of a background briefing that I gave to the press at the White House at the time the communique was issued. In this briefing I tried to place this matter in the context of our overall relationship with Japan and answered to the best of my ability the specific questions that were raised, which included, I believe, the Okinawa-related questions raised by this Committee. I am therefore attaching a copy of the transcript of that briefing as a part of this statement. (Appendix VI)

The Sino-Soviet propaganda reaction to the Communique was predictably adverse (although not violently so) since it reflected U.S.-Japanese agreement on a potentially divisive issue. Both countries sharply attacked the agreement as alleged proof of U.S-Japanese imperialist collusion, and charged us with a desire to goad Japan into a military role in Asia. [Deleted.]

The consultations between the two Governments looking toward the conclusion of the specific arrangements for the reversion to Japan of administrative rights over Okinawa during 1972 have now been initiated in Tokyo between Ambassador Meyer and Foreign Minister Aichi. This is being done within the framework of the United States-Japan Consultative Committee in Tokyo and the Preparatory Commission on Okinawa as set forth in the communique. As this work progresses we will look forward to consulting with and informing this and any other concerned Committees of the Congress. As you know, the communique specifically states that the accomplishment of the reversion during 1972 is "subject to the conclusion of these specific arrangements with the necessary legislative support." We will, of course, want to include in our consultations with the Congress the question of what, if any, formal action by the Congress is desired.

With respect to some of the other specific questions raised by the Subcommittee and not specifically covered in the foregoing, there were no secret agreements concluded with the Japanese Government as a part of the negotiations of the understanding with respect to the reversion of Okinawa as set forth in President Nixon's and Prime Minister Sato's communique, although discussions were initiated on several status of forces and economic-financial issues which will be involved in the final reversion agreement. Furthermore, Japan will not be undertaking new commitments to us with respect to Okinawa, other than taking over the defence responsibility as they have done in the Japanese homeland. [Deleted.]


There are a variety and complex of internal domestic political reasons that account for the fact that the Japanese have not yet signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Among other reasons that have been cited, has been the concern of what some Japanese feel would be inequality of inspection of peaceful nuclear facilities by the IAEA in Japan as compared with what the Japanese interpret as "inspection of themselves" by the EURATOM countries. The Japanese also relate this to the question of industrial espionage. We have not and do not contemplate any commitment, nor have the Japanese suggested any inducement to them to sign the Treaty. My own expectation is that they will sign the Treaty in the next few months.


Our rights on the Bonin Islands are the same under the Security Treaty and the related Administrative Agreement as in any other territory under Japanese administration. In accordance with those agreements, the United States Coast Guard is continuing to maintain a Loran-C station on Iwo Jima and ESSA is maintaining a weather station on Marcus Island. The Joint Committee worked out with the Japanese forces cooperative support arrangements for these instal-lations which it is my understanding are operating very satisfactorily. Addition-ally, the Japanese Government agreed that the 5th Marine Division memorial on Mount Surabachi on Iwo Jima could be maintained along with access to it.


In closing, I would like to add that during my tenure as ambassador in Japan, it was my privilege to work closely with the Commander, United States Forces Japan, Lt. General McGehee, and his predecessor, Lt. Gen. McKee. As I have indicated, the bases and facilities operated by USFJ represent a vital link in the chain of military installations in the Far East, and they are of great importance in support of our commitments in the area. We have made good progress toward the kind of base establishment in Japan which can merit the understand-ing and support of both our peoples, and I am sure this progress will continue. The military authorities have prepared the replies to your specific questions on purely military matters affecting Japan and stand ready to provide any additional details about which you may wish to inquire. Although as ambassador in Tokyo I did not have any responsibility for Okinawa, I did of course consult frequently with the High Commissioner. Lt. Gen. Lampart, and his distinguished predecessor, General Unger. Okinawa has been called the keystone of our defence in the Pacific, and I envisage it as continuing after reversion to play an important part in carrying out our responsibilities in the Western Pacific. General Lampart will have his own statement to make to you on Okinawa, and he and other military representatives are prepared to respond to such further questions as you may wish to ask after having studied the written replies to your specific questions.

the ryukyu-okinawa history and culture website © 1995-2019 john michael purves